John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me,

Spoken to: 

audience

Context: 

Jesus is describing himself as a shepherd.

Greek : 

Literal Verse: 

As the Father knows me and I myself know the Father, and I dedicate this self of mine on behalf of these sheep.

KJV : 

John 10:15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

NIV : 

John 10:15 just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.

What is Lost in Translation: 

Earlier in  John 10:11, we examined the four possible interpretations for the ending phrase here. Since it is the ending of the verse, it acts as the punchline. Jesus shifts most like interpretation here by changing its context: making it about him and the Father knowing each other building on the previous verse's statements about the sheep knowing the shepherd and the shepherd the sheep. The "know" here is the verb that means "learn to know." It is not the verb that means "to have seen" used in John 8:19, where Jesus says that his challengers "know" neither him nor his father.

The humor here is how this shifts among the multiple meanings of what is translated as "lay down his life for his sheep."The literal translation of the verse's ending is: "The shepherd, the good one, puts that self of his above the sheep." However,  the "to put" verb can also "to dedicate." Another meaning of the "over" preposition is "on behalf of." So we can also hear the last part as: "...dedicates that self of his on behalf of the sheep."  This is likely how his listeners heard it in John 10:11, given the context of being a good shepherd. However, it has a third and fourth, perhaps deeper meanings. If we see the "self" as a blanket or barrier of protection, it is a statement of defense:  "...places that self of his over the sheep." This was the meaning implied in the verses about the wolf coming. However, if we see that "self" as a personality and set of values, which is the context here, one of "knowing," it is a statement of changing the sheep's personalities and values to those more like your own: "put that self of his upon the sheep."

Possible Symbolic Meaning: 

Another sense of this final phrase is that a leader's spirit or soul is laid down over the flock, like a spiritual blanket. The "sheep" is a metaphor for those who follow him.

Related Verses: 

Greek Vocabulary: 

καθὼς [36 verses] (adv) "How" is kathos, which means "even as," "how," and, in relating to time, "as" and "when."

γινώσκει [62 verses] (verb 3rd sg pres ind act) "Knows," is ginosko which means "to learn to know," "to know by reflection or observation," and "to perceive."

με [49 verses](pron 1st sg masc acc) "Me" is eme, which is the objective first-person, objective, singular pronoun that means  "me."

[821 verses](article sg masc nom)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

πατὴρ [191 verses](noun sg masc nom) "The Father" is pater, which means "father," "grandfather," "author," "parent," and "forefathers."

κἀγὼ [31 verses](pron 1st sg masc nom ) "Even so" is kago, a contraction of kai-ego. "And" is kai-, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "also." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even," "also," and "just." "I" is -ego, which is the first-person singular pronoun meaning "I." It also means "I at least," "for my part," "indeed," and "for myself."

γινώσκω [62 verses] (verb 1st sg pres ind act) "Knows,"is ginosko which means "to learn to know," "to know by reflection or observation," and "to perceive." -- "Be known" is a verb that means "to know," "to recognize," "make known," "to know carnally," and "to learn.

τὸν [821 verses](article sg masc acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

πατέρα,[191 verses](noun sg masc acc) "The Father" is pater, which means "father," "grandfather," "author," "parent," and "forefathers."

καὶ [1089 verses](conj/adv) "And" is kai, which is the conjunction joining phrases and clauses, "and," or "also." After words implying sameness, "as" (the same opinion as you). Used in series, joins positive with negative "Not only...but also." Also used to give emphasis, "even," "also," and "just."

τὴν [821 verses](article sg fem acc)  Untranslated is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the").

ψυχήν [33 verses](noun sg fem acc) "Life" is psyche, which means "breath," "life," "self," "personality," "spirit," and "soul." It is used for different aspects of "self," the emotional self, the conscious self, the intellectual self. It has a clear sense of the conscious self and is often translated as "life" in the Gospels. It is also used to describe "the spirit" of things. It is also often translated as "soul." --The word translated here as "soul" is psyche, a common word in Greek, familiar in English, meaning "life," "soul," "consciousness," and "a sense of self." Jesus uses it to specifically mean our identity in our worldly life, the role we play on earth, what we might call the "social self," or what we commonly call our "ego." See this article for detail about this word.

μου [239 verses](adj sg masc gen) "Me" is from mou (emou), which means "me," and "mine." As a genitive object means movement away from something or a position away from something else.

τίθημι 24 verses](verb 1st sg pres ind act )  "Put" is tithemi which means "to put," "to place," "to propose," "to suggest," "o deposit," "to set up," "to dedicate," "to assign," "to award," "to agree upon," "to institute," "to establish," "to make," "to work," "to prepare oneself," "to bear arms [military]," "to lay down and surrender [military]," "to lay in the grave," "to bury," and "to put words on paper [writing]," and a metaphor for "to put in one's mind." -- The Greek verb translated as "give" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "to put," "to dedicate," "to assign," "to award," and "to place," and in the military, "to bear arms," "to lay down and surrender," but which has many related meanings as well.

ὑπὲρ [17 verses](prep) "For" is hyper (huper), which means "over" (of place), "above' (in a state of rest), "off' (ships at sea), "over" and "across (in a state of motion), "over," "beyond," "on behalf of one (metaphor), "for," "instead of," "in the name of," "as a representative of" (in an entreaty), "for" and "because of" (of the cause or motive), "concerning," "exceeding" "above" and "beyond" (of measure), "above" and "upwards" (of numbers), "before" and "earlier than" (of time), "over much" and "beyond measure" (as an adverb), "for" and "in deference of" (doing a thing), and "above measure." 

τῶν  [821 verses](article pl neut acc)  "The" is the Greek definite article, hos, ("the"). 

προβάτων: [26 verses](noun pl neut acc) "Sheep" is probaton, which means any domesticated four-footed animal, "sheep," "cattle," "herds," and "flocks.

KJV Analysis: 

As -- "As" is from a Greek word that means which means "even as," "how," and, in relating to time, "as" and "when."

the   -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

Father -- "Father" is the Greek noun that means "father" or any male ancestor so "forefathers." It is the word that Christ uses to address his own Father.

knoweth -- "Knows" is a verb that means "to know," "to recognize," "make known," "to know carnally," and "to learn.

me, -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek as the object of the verb or preposition.

even so -- -- (CW) This is from a contraction of the conjunction "and" and the subject pronoun "I". Since the verb is already in the first person, that addition of the pronoun is like saying "and I myself," emphasizing the first- person speaker.

know -- "Knows" is a verb that means "to know," "to recognize," "make known," "to know carnally," and "to learn.

I - The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." Saying "I myself" captures this feeling in English.

missing "myself" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."

the   -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

Father -- "Father" is the Greek noun that means "father" or any male ancestor so "forefathers." It is the word that Christ uses to address his own Father.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

lay .-- (CW) The Greek verb translated as "lay" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "to put," "to dedicate," "to assign," "to award," and "to place," and in the military, "to bear arms," "to lay down and surrender," but which has many related meanings as well. However, it is not the word usually translated as "give."

down -- (IW) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated as "down" in the Greek source.

my -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine." 

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article,"the," which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

life -- (CW) The word translated here as "life" is psyche, a common word in Greek, familiar in English, meaning "life," "soul," "consciousness," and "a sense of self." Jesus uses it to specifically mean our identity in our worldly life, the role we play on earth, the "self" or what we commonly call our "ego." See this article for detail about this word.

for -- "For" is a preposition that means "over" "beyond," "concerning," "on behalf of,"  "for" and "because of" (of the cause or motive), and "instead of" with many other specific uses.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

sheep. -- "Sheep" is Christ's symbol for his followers. The Greek word refers to any domesticated animal and works better if translated simply as "flock" or "herd." The flock follows the shepherd, which is above them. It is also together, a united group.

KJV Translation Issues: 

6
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "even so" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "lay" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "down" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "life" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "life" is not the most common word usually translated as "life."

NIV Analysis: 

just -- (IW) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated "just" in the Greek source.

as -- "As" is from a Greek word that means which means "even as," "how," and, in relating to time, "as" and "when."

the   -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

Father -- "Father" is the Greek noun that means "father" or any male ancestor so "forefathers." It is the word that Christ uses to address his own Father.

knows -- "Knows" is a verb that means "to know," "to recognize," "make known," "to know carnally," and "to learn.

me, -- "Me" is the regular first-person pronoun in Greek as the object of the verb or preposition.

and -- --  This is from a contraction of the conjunction "and" and the subject pronoun "I". Since the verb is already in the first person, that addition of the pronoun is like saying "and I myself," emphasizing the first- person speaker.

know -- "Knows" is a verb that means "to know," "to recognize," "make known," "to know carnally," and "to learn.

I - The pronoun "I" is used here. Since, as the subject of the sentence, it is part of the verb, its explicit use accentuates who is speaking "I." Saying "I myself" captures this feeling in English.

missing "myself" -- (MW)  The subjective pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."

the   -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

Father -- "Father" is the Greek noun that means "father" or any male ancestor so "forefathers." It is the word that Christ uses to address his own Father.

and -- The Greek word translated as "and" is used as the conjunction "and," but it also is used to add emphasis ("also"). In a series, it is best translated as "not only...but also." After words implying sameness "as."

I -- This is from the first-person, singular form of the verb.

lay .-- (CW) The Greek verb translated as "lay" is translated from a Greek word that means primarily "to put," "to dedicate," "to assign," "to award," and "to place," and in the military, "to bear arms," "to lay down and surrender," but which has many related meanings as well. However, it is not the word usually translated as "give."

down -- (IW) There is nothing in the Greek that can be translated down"the" in the Greek source.

my -- "My" is the first-person possessive singular pronoun. This pronoun follows the noun so "of mine." 

missing "the"  -- (MW) The untranslated word is the Greek definite article,"the," which usually precedes a noun and, without a noun, takes the meaning of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those"). See this article for more. 

life -- (CW) The word translated here as "life" is psyche, a common word in Greek, familiar in English, meaning "life," "soul," "consciousness," and "a sense of self." Jesus uses it to specifically mean our identity in our worldly life, the role we play on earth, the "self" or what we commonly call our "ego." See this article for detail about this word.

for -- "For" is a preposition that means "over" "beyond," "concerning," "on behalf of,"  "for" and "because of" (of the cause or motive), and "instead of" with many other specific uses.

the -- The word translated as "the" is the Greek definite article, without a noun, it has the sense of "the one." The Greek article is much closer to our demonstrative pronouns ("this," "that," "these," "those") than the English "the." See this article for more. 

sheep. -- "Sheep" is Christ's symbol for his followers. The Greek word refers to any domesticated animal and works better if translated simply as "flock" or "herd." The flock follows the shepherd, which is above them. It is also together, a united group.

NIV Translation Issues: 

6
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "just" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW -- Missing Word  -- The pronoun repeats the information in the verb so it should be repeated in English like "I myself."
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "lay" does not capture the specific meaning of the word.
  • IW - Inserted Word -- The word "down" doesn't exist in the source.
  • MW - Missing Word -- The word "the" before "life" is not shown in the English translation.
  • CW - Confusing Word -- The "life" is not the most common word usually translated as "life."

Front Page Date: 

Jul 9 2022